The Impact of 17 Factors on Google Search Rank

Direct website traffic is the factor that most influences how well pages rank on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs), according to recent research from SEM Rush. Read the full article at MarketingProfs


Is Your Commerce System Vulnerable to Meltdown on Black Friday Cyber Monday?

During Thanksgiving 2016, Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit record breaking ecommerce sales in the United States. Over 108 million shopped online. Total sales reached $9.36 billion, and mobile sales also broke the $3 billion mark. Online sales outpaced brick and mortar sales, as more people (notably the millennial demographic) chose to surf online for the best deals.1

Unfortunately, not all retailers were ready for the surge in traffic.

Macy’s, Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, Target and Newegg all experienced online technical issues. Websites lagged or crashed.2 Some customers couldn’t even log on. Others had a cart full of items that they couldn’t pay for, some even saw their items disappear and replaced by someone else’s selections. Many frustrated netizens took their complaints to social media, but for every person who bothered to tweet, dozens more simply took their money elsewhere.

Readying for the flurry

According to the Forrester 2017 Holiday Outlook Report, online retail sales will increase this year by 12% and companies have worked hard over the past year to optimize every part of the shopping journey to win, serve, and retain customers during this often make-or-break shopping season.

Raw computing power has become commoditized to the point where there is little benefit in owning and running infrastructure to handle super high traffic on just a few days of the year. For companies that experience highly variable computing loads, the cost of maintaining on-premise servers just to cover those high load days, is senseless. Retailers are preparing for Black Friday surges in ecommerce system traffic with demand based computing clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) that provide unlimited dynamic scaling. Computer capacity is adjusted according to demand, protecting both customer experience and costs since companies don’t pay for servers sitting idle in low season.

Companies using clouds like AWS to run their critical commerce infrastructure are also buying the expertise of the world’s top technology infrastructure platform experts. They’ll ensure new technology innovations are implemented as they arise.

black friday shoppers

The blurry season

Not only are total sales going to increase, but lines between physical and digital experiences continue to blur, putting more pressure on underlying commerce systems. Even brick-and-mortar shoppers use their mobile to check reviews or compare prices. Many retailers also use mobile presence technologies in-store. These customer tracking systems can provide contextual information to a commerce system that can then offer discounts via SMS or an app as people browse. Some stores have cut down lines by giving staff mobile point of sale devices.

All these technologies depend on reliable and scalable bandwidth in store as well as a commerce system that can handle digital and physical store purchase surges. With a unified transactional layer for online and in-store purchases, shoppers experience consistent products, pricing and promotions regardless of sales channel. Combine this with the power of AWS and the entire commerce infrastructure can easily scale as demand skyrockets. Checkout line clogging up? Add more mobile checkouts help line bust. Don’t have the right item in store? Let customers purchase anyway and ship it directly to their house. The flexibility that a unified commerce layer provides customers allows your company to solve the bottleneck problems that might sour their experience with your brand.

As commerce becomes more and more connected throughout the customer journey whether digital or physical, all transactions will go through a central system. Commerce systems running on a platform that offers guaranteed dynamic scalability will ultimately win out because they will be able to keep up with the unpredictable peaks of the holiday rush.

Shopper Options

1 National Retail Federation, Retailers Made Black Friday Irresistible for Consumers with Great Deals, Online and In-Store

2 Forbes, How Retailers Botched Black Friday And Cyber Monday

Your company’s commerce system doesn’t have to be vulnerable to a Black Friday, Cyber Monday meltdown or any peak shopping period. Learn more about Elastic Path Commerce for AWS.

The post Is Your Commerce System Vulnerable to Meltdown on Black Friday Cyber Monday? appeared first on Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog.


Thank You Content Marketing And Reciprocity: 5 Ways To Build Customer Relationships

Show Thanks With Content Marketing

Earn reciprocity from your customers by using Thank You Content Marketing to build relationships and sales. Examines 5  Thank You Content Type and offers tips.

The post Thank You Content Marketing And Reciprocity: 5 Ways To Build Customer Relationships appeared first on Heidi Cohen.


Top of Mind – Book Interview

Top of Mind book cover

What do many successful businesses and leaders have in common? They’re the first names that come to mind when people think about their particular industries. How do you achieve this level of trust that influences people to think of you in the right way at the right time?

In Top of Mind, John Hall show you how to develop habits and strategies that focus on engaging your audience, creating meaningful relationships, and delivering value consistently, day in and day out.


The post Top of Mind – Book Interview appeared first on Heidi Cohen.


Top 3 Reasons Why 84% of Digital Transformation Projects Fail

According to Forbes, 7 out of 8 digital transformations fail. The problem is that companies aren’t actually transforming, instead they are only attempting to transform by wedging new mobile applications, engagement layers, or channels on old and brittle infrastructure. Frankly, this is not transformation, this is stagnation.

Here are some of the most common and expensive mistakes that send well-intentioned digital projects to their doom.


1 You’re not investing in experiences that customers really want

Successful projects aren’t built around shiny objects. They deliver true value to customers. Approach transformation from the customer’s point of view. What will truly fill a need, delight and support a customer along the buyer journey? Use both quantitative and qualitative methods to formulate and validate your hypothesis:

  • Analytics
  • Customer surveys
  • Customer journeys
  • Proof of concept before a larger rollout

digital transformation fail investing analytics

2 You’re not planning for requirements

Failing to plan carries the opportunity cost of delayed or abandoned projects, which translates to lost customer sales while giving your competitors time to get ahead.

Define your project requirements, customer journeys and flows. Understand and anticipate necessary integrations. These details should be nailed down before you start to build to avoid mid-implementation changes and issues that can derail your effort.

digital transformation fail planning chess

3 You’re constricted with technology

Traditional, single-stack ecommerce solutions are coupled, meaning the front-end presentation layer and back-end infrastructure (the “stack”) are unified. This creates several technical issues and business limitations.

  • High risk. With single-stack architecture, you can’t modify business logic without updating and redeploying the entire application. Over time, convoluted integrations and customizations make the whole application “brittle.” Even small coding errors can interrupt or bring down the system. Single-stack architectures amplify the problem due to the challenges in isolation testing.
  • Difficult to scale. The pieces of a single-stack commerce engine share code, databases and memory. Separating out pieces that consume a lot of bandwidth or otherwise drag performance is a challenge. If traffic or consumption spikes, you must run more instances of your entire application, which can result in paying for additional licenses, hardware or hosting, or paying higher fees to your SaaS vendor. Some services and databases don’t scale at all, leading to suboptimal outcomes and failed projects.
  • Stifles innovation. Hardwiring new touchpoints to a legacy system keeps you shackled to the version you’re using at the beginning of your project, and can prevent you from integrating newer, best-of-breed tech in the future.

digital transformation fail constricted jail behind bars

That’s why top brands are abandoning siloed, single-stacks for more flexible headless commerce solutions.

With headless commerce the business layer and the presentation layer are decoupled from each other.

  • Flexibility. Headless commerce allows you to deliver customer experiences the way you want, without requiring back-end development.
  • Stability. Development teams can work independently, without affecting other teams’ code or release schedules. They can focus on key areas like system security, availability, and auditability. Leaving the underlying code untouched ensures a stable platform that can be easily upgraded in the future.
  • Agility. Front-end teams are able to adapt and make changes rapidly and fluidly. When a new front-end technology arrives, the impact of experimenting on it has minimal effect on the entire system. Agility is no longer a “nice-to-have” but now is very much a “must-have” for businesses to survive and flourish.

There comes a point when you need to stop adding to legacy or homegrown systems – it becomes too restrictive, arduous and expensive – and for most organizations, that time is now.

Learn about digital transformation from customer experience leaders. Download Elastic Path’s free ebook to find out more about the future of ecommerce.

The post Top 3 Reasons Why 84% of Digital Transformation Projects Fail appeared first on Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog.


How We Consume Content Now (And What It Means For Your Marketing) [INFOGRAPHIC]

Content Consumption

How do you maximize your content marketing distribution? By understanding the 5 types of content consumption and their marketing implications. Includes research, charts, tactics and tips. [INFOGRAPHIC]

The post How We Consume Content Now (And What It Means For Your Marketing) [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Heidi Cohen.